Mary Jean Stoddard Fowler

Honored by:Margaret Fowler McDowell, Katherine Jean Fowler, and Robert Erling Fowler
Brick location:F:12  map

Mary Jean Stoddard Fowler was born in Ames, Iowa on February 5, 1934. She graduated from Iowa State in 1956 with a BS in Home Economics and Applied Arts; she received her Master's in 1957. Her ties to Iowa State and her dedication to education are deeply rooted in her family history.

Both her parents, Jeanette Knapp and Alexis Erling Stoddard, graduated from Iowa State and were closely associated with the College all of their lives. Likewise, her grandparents, Herman and Mary McDonald Knapp, graduated from Iowa State in 1883. Herman Knapp served as the Treasurer and later was acting president of the college. Mary McDonald Knapp taught at Iowa State and promoted education for students and non-students. Seamen A. Knapp, her great-grandfather, served as the second president of Iowa State and was instrumental in the development of the Extension Service, which still functions today.

Mary Jean Stoddard Fowler has successfully combined her love of art and her dedication to education to promote art to people of all ages. After her graduation from Iowa State, she taught applied art as a specialist in the Extension Division of the University of Wisconsin and later was an instructor in the Home Economic Department of the University of Iowa and the University of Houston.

In addition, she served for 15 years on the Board of Governors for Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. She continues to be involved with the school by teaching courses on expanding art in schools. While her children were young, she continued to teach art and weaving to people of all ages.

Mary Jean saw the need and the opportunity to enhance art in education and to improve the quality of school art programs. She developed and presents seminars and workshops for public school teachers to incorporate a wider variety of media in their programs. She has presented workshops for educators’ conventions as well as working with individual school districts. Her book "Happy Inkle Trails" details using and designing on the inkle loom.

Currently she teaches art at St. Johns School in Houston, Texas. During the summer she teaches in the High School Summer Program at Rice University where she is a Master Teacher. Mary Jean is a practicing artist working in a variety of media, including fiber paper and paint. She has exhibited and sold as an owner/partner at Archway Gallery as well as one-woman and multiple-artist shows throughout Texas and the nation. Her works have been commissioned by individuals and corporations throughout the United States.

Mary Jean Stoddard Fowler has devoted her life to her family art and education. She has succeeded in incorporating art into life in such a way that others can apply it and enjoy it as she has. She is our Mother.

- Margaret Fowler McDowell, Katherine Jean Fowler, and Robert Erling Fowler